ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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'Chapulling' in Turkey

The people have stood up against the Turkish oligarchy.

Turkey is in the midst of massive popular unrest in all its major cities and towns. In late May, the impending demolition of Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park to rebuild the Taksim Military Barracks (demolished in 1940) and construct a shopping mall sparked an environmental protest. The brutal police eviction of the sit-in by environmentalists protesting the Park’s demolition caused widespread outrage and precipitated a genuine popular movement that started in Istanbul but soon spread all over the country. That is how it all began. But what is going on and why? The movement is surely not really about the trees alone.

Clearly, the protest prompted by the impending demolition of Gezi Park was only the catalyst that set in motion the “chapulling” (fighting for your rights), a derivative that came to be coined upon the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s arrogant characterisation on 2 June of the protestors as “a few capulcu” (looters). The big commercial media outlets have acted as if they are affiliates of the governing Justice and Development Party, in Turkish the Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP), and so one needs to heed what is being said in social media which has played a major role in keeping people informed.

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